The Tech Guy 153
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Saturday, June 18, 2005
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Today’s news items
Do Dell laptops come with hardware keystroke loggers? It’s likely a hoax, but it’s still got people scared.
Mark in Irvine - camera phones with Bluetooth but not cameras
Government offices and other places won’t allow cameraphones. He’s looking for bluetooth capable cellphone without camera. Cingular offers the Siemens SX66 - it’s a PocketPC phone with bluetooth but no camera. I also like the newer Blackberries - they’re business focused so no cameras and several models have bluetooth. Try the 7100 or 7290.
Mark in Santa Ana - Outlook password isn’t sticking
The solution I gave him last week works briefly but then it’s back to amnesia. Any ideas?
Mike In Santa Clarita - PC and Mac running iTunes
Can he share a music single library? Yes with SyncOTunes.
Here’s how to share them on the Internet
Andrea in Simi Valley - looking for color laser multi-function printer
Check the reviews at PC Magazine’s web site.
Harold in Tustin - is it legal to “borrow” wi-fi
Probably not and you’re opening yourself to hacking. I would find the source and offer to split the Internet cost. Use netstumbler to find the source.
How To Secure Wi-Fi
1. Immediately change the admin password on your access point.
2. Turn on WEP or, even better, WPA encryption on the access point and each computer.
3. For even stronger security, use MAC Address Filtering.
It’s legal to borrow Wi-Fi if you first ask permission.
Elaine in Blooomington - Powerpoint won’t play WMA
Make sure it’s not protected (even if you’re ripping the WMA from your own CDs Windows Media Player can copy protect the files). Click Tools→Options, press the Copy Music tab, then uncheck “Copy protect music” before you copy it from CD. You might try copying the files as WAVs just to see if they work that way.
Joe in Sebastapol - Norton Ghost causing problems
Ghost has been very reliable in my experience, but if your particular setup has problems with it, don’t use it. The key to good backups is to make regular copies of the files you create, and to keep copies offsite, too. I copy my home folder to a CD every week.
Dave in Woodbury, MN - Adds comments about Norton Ghost 9.0
I have used Norton Ghost for many years (at work and home). In previous versions of Ghost, once in awhile the image files simply failed when trying to restore a system. The new version 9.0 seems to be very reliable. After Symantec acquired PowerQuest, Ghost improved significantly. I take a full image once a week of my Windows 2000 boot drive onto a second hard drive with the built-in scheduler. Later, I manually copy the image files to DVD’s for off-site backups. If you try imaging directly to CD’s or DVD’s, it will take many hours to complete the imaging process. It is many times faster to image to a hard drive. Ghost 9.0 can also be setup to do scheduled differential or incremental images. There is a business version of Ghost called Live State which allows scheduling pre/post imaging tasks, and an enterprise management console. I think imaging your computer is very important, since it can be such a pain to restore or re-install Windows manually — it is very difficult to try to setup a computer exactly the same way it was before the system failure. I agree with Leo that imaging should not be your only backup, since there is always a small risk of a imaging restoration process failure. The images must also be restored to similar hardware. If the hardware must be replaced, it might not be possible to restore the images — dissimilar hardware imaging with Windows can be very difficult. To increase the reliablity of the restorations, you need to have a second identical system to make sure the images will actually restore (testing restorations cannot be done on your production system, in case the images fail to restore!). Static files, such as documents, pictures, video files, etc, should also be backed up by file copying to a second drive, and later copied to CDs or DVDs for off-site storage. Your IP configuration information, all usernames & passwords should also be documented on paper and stored.
Shawn in Santa Clarita - backdoor virus bit him
He was compromised by something McAfee calls BackDoor-CRX.dll. It’s not going away. I would assume that you’ve been compromised. Backup your data and reinstall Windows.
David in Moreno Valley - daughter uses Limewire
She’s exposing you to spyware and viruses. The program itself is safe but the files you download may well not be. Make sure to turn on file extensions in Windows: Open My Computer, click Tools→Options…, press the View tab then uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types.” Make sure the files you download are .MP3 not .MP3.exe or .AVI not .AVI.exe. With extensions hidden (the Windows default) you can’t be sure.
Chet in La Canada - bypassing notebook BIOS password
His late son’s Compaq 2700 notebook is password protected. The only ways around a BIOS password are if the manufacturer has a backdoor or by clearing the CMOS memory.
There are companies that sell cracking chips but this requires opening the computer.
Here’s a list of backdoor passwords.
If the bios battery is easily accessable, try taking it out for a long while, put it back in, and see if the password has been disabled. But record your bios settings first before doing this!
Gary in Costa Mesa - new HDTV, DVR and cable recommendations
He also wants a DVD recordable Tivo. I recommend the Humax Tivo - it’s not HD but it does the job.
John Smith adds
If you only care about non-HDTV or can wait for HDTV, the easiest and cheapest thing to do is to get a DVR from the cable or satellite company (I have a DishPVR642 and love it), and a standalone DVD recorder like the Panasonic DR-E55. Record the video to the DVR, and then at your leisure record the shows from the DVR to DVD as if you were recording live television. You can also skip recording the commericals of course, granted it is not as accurate as a frame-accurate video editor on a PC. But again, it is cheap and easy. It also limits the number of digital to analog/analog to digital conversions necessary; it would be a dream to have a cable or satellite box with a DVR and a DVD recorder, but will probably never happen due to the MPAA. Thereofre, the DA→AD conversion is virtually unavoidable. However, the quality will still be excellent and probably not distinguishable from the original broadcast, a huge leap from VHS of old.
If you really want HDTV and are desparate to record HDTV, and have the money to do it, you can either use D-VHS from JVC (a VHS recorder which records HDTV digitally onto VHS form factor tapes), or use a PC with HDTV-capable input (it can act as a DVR and replace the DVR entirely if you wanted it to, also.) A PC with HDTV capabilities can record HDTV to the hard drive like a DVR. Then it can be transcoded into an AVI file (usually DiVX or XvID encoding), and those can fit onto a CD or DVD. A 1 hour HDTV program with the commericals cut out can usually be encoded in DiVX and fit into a 400MB-600MB AVI file. Cumbersome, slow and not standard it does work though, and the results can look excellent, and in theory be transcoded or somehow converted into whatever the HDTV recording standard will be.
Douglas in Tarzana - Xbox 360
I’m excited by it - it’s the next generation Xbox (which I love) but with very high end features including a 3-way PowerPC processor running at more than 3Ghz, a 500Mhz ATI video card, 20GB hard drive, 512MB RAM. It will be the most powerful computer in your house. And Microsoft has a huge stake in making it more than just a game machine. Expect it to record video like a Tivo, store and playback pictures and music, and maybe even VoIP. I’ll buy one.